Timekeeper and Chainbreaker by Tara Sim: Review & Sim’s Top Ten Addictions

Posted January 10, 2018 by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction in Author Top Ten Lists, Reviews / 16 Comments

Today I’m featuring the first two books in Tara Sim’s Timekeeper Series, a romantic magical steampunk adventure series that blew me away with its imaginative concept and its heart.’

My first review will be spoiler-free for the series, but skim past the review of book two if you haven’t picked up Timekeeper yet!

Timekeeper and Chainbreaker by Tara Sim: Review & Sim’s Top Ten AddictionsTimekeeper by Tara Sim
Series: Timekeeper #1
Also in this series: , Firestarter
Published by Sky Pony Press on November 8th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Steampunk, LGBTQ+
Pages: 414
Source: The Publisher
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing)
My rating:
5 Stars

I was in an accident. I got out. I’m safe now.

An alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, where a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.

A prodigy mechanic who can repair not only clockwork but time itself, determined to rescue his father from a Stopped town.

A series of mysterious bombings that could jeopardize all of England.

A boy who would give anything to relive his past, and one who would give anything to live at all.

A romance that will shake the very foundations of time.


My Take copy3

You know how sometimes you start reading a book and you just instantly LOVE it? That was me with this book. And it never stopped. Several times while I was reading, I literally just had to stop and say out loud, “I love this book!”

What Fed My Addiction:

  • Steampunk adventure with a magical twist. The worldbuilding here is just utterly fantastic. I adored the concept—time is actually controlled by physical clocks in each time zone (it’s actually not as simple as that, but I don’t want to spoil anything so I’ll leave it at that). It makes for a fragile existence sometimes, and mechanics who have a special connection to time’s threads are the only things keeping the world moving smoothly.
  • The romance. Again, this book is so hard to talk about without giving details away, so I’m going to be really general here. I will point out that the main character is gay and that people’s struggles to accept that are a part of the story (but not the overall focus of the story). I was incredibly emotionally invested in the romance in this book, and the moments between Danny and Colton made me want to burst at the seams with happiness. And then there was the added difficulty because they are truly star-crossed lovers—Danny and Colton have to balance their feelings for each other against doing what is right, and there are no simple answers. The romance was only one element to a beautifully complex story, but it was the element that drew me in the deepest.
  • Guilt and anxiety. Danny’s relationship with his mother is complicated, both because of his sexuality and because he’s dealing with guilt over something that happened with his father just before tragedy struck. He’s also trying to get past anxiety because of an accident that almost killed him. He wants more than anything to go back to the life he loves as a mechanic, but he’s held back by his emotional issues surrounding his job.
  • The mystery. Usually in a story like this, the mystery is my least favorite part. In this case, there were so many intricate webs of emotion surrounding the mystery that I found it fascinating. I was kept guessing the whole time I read, and even when I figured out elements of what was going on, there were plenty of surprises!

What Left Me Hungry for More:

  • Very little. I could get nit-picky and tell you about one element of the storyline that felt contradictory (just about something that the mechanics had rules about but that no one seemed to believe in—it seemed weird to have rules about something you thought wasn’t real). Okay, I guess I just did. But, honestly, there is SO little that I didn’t love about this book that you should just skip this part and go buy the book.

So, in case you didn’t already catch this, I ADORED this book. It’s imaginative and adventurous and full of wonder. 

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***

Timekeeper and Chainbreaker by Tara Sim: Review & Sim’s Top Ten AddictionsChainbreaker by Tara Sim
Series: Timekeeper #2
Also in this series: , Firestarter
Published by Sky Pony Press on January 2nd 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Steampunk, LGBTQ+
Pages: 488
Source: The Publisher
My content rating: YA (It's implied that the characters have sex, but nothing is shown)
My rating:
4 Stars

Clock mechanic Danny Hart knows he's being watched. But by whom, or what, remains a mystery. To make matters worse, clock towers have begun falling in India, though time hasn't Stopped yet. He'd hoped after reuniting with his father and exploring his relationship with Colton, he'd have some time to settle into his new life. Instead, he's asked to investigate the attacks.

After inspecting some of the fallen Indian towers, he realizes the British occupation may be sparking more than just attacks. And as Danny and Colton unravel more secrets about their past, they find themselves on a dark and dangerous path--one from which they may never return.


My Take copy3

***NOTE: Since this review is for the second book in the series, it will contain some spoilers for the first book. Skip over this review if you haven’t read Timekeeper yet! (And then go read Timekeeper and come back and find out what I thought of book two.)

Chainbreaker brings Sim’s magical steampunk worldbuilding to India, giving us a wider perspective on her imaginative world and sending us on a new and even more complicated adventure!

What Fed My Addiction:

  • India. Somehow I started 2018 with two books set in India, a locale I haven’t read much about before. I’ll sadly admit that I knew nothing about India’s history going into this book, so I loved getting some background on the difficult relationship between England and India at that time in history and social norms at the time. (Sim talks in her notes about the historical basis of the book and how she deviates from it for her own alternate steampunk version, which I really appreciated). The book doesn’t delve deeply into this history because that’s not the main thrust of the story, but it’s a great introduction to the subject.
  • Conflict that isn’t black and white. Speaking of India, I especially loved how Danny ponders and questions the right and wrong of it all—who are the villains in his life story and who are the heroes? He asks himself this in relation to the rebellion and also in terms of the clock spirits. Danny has had to question his relationship with Colton all along—he knows that they could be putting a town in danger with their love and he has to live with that every day. There are people who are trying to “fix” time (and the situation in India), but are they truly helping? At what cost? Morality is complicated, and Danny has to figure out where he stands.
  • Colton’s backstory. We get to learn about Colton’s backstory and origins in this book, and these scenes are fabulous!
  • Daphne’s cultural voice. In this second book, we get Daphne’s POV (in addition to Colton and Danny’s). Her biggest struggle is the fact that she feels both connected and disconnected to India. She has a deep curiosity about the country because of her Indian heritage, but she doesn’t feel like she belongs there or that she could be accepted there. Knowing that Tara Sim is, herself, half-Indian makes this aspect of the story all the more engaging an realistic.

What Left Me Hungry for More:

  • Less Colton and Danny (together). Since Danny and Colton are separated for pretty much this entire book, we miss out on some of the magic of the romance between them. This book wasn’t quite as emotionally compelling for me as the first one was, and I can’t help but think that this might have had something to do with it. (Though it could also be because the “villains” in this story are less personal as well.) I never quite connected to Daphne the way I did Danny and Colton, so her chapters didn’t pull me in as much.

So, while this second installment didn’t quite live up to my adoration of the first, it was still definitely an engaging and exciting story. And Sim set us up for the next book so well that I’m itching to know where it’s all headed!

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***

About the Author

Tara Sim is the author of the TIMEKEEPER trilogy (Sky Pony Press) and writer of all things magic. She can often be found in the wilds of the Bay Area, California.

When she’s not writing about mischievous boys in clock towers, Tara spends her time drinking tea, wrangling cats, and occasionally singing opera. Despite her bio-luminescent skin, she is half-Indian and eats way too many samosas.

She also sometimes blogs for Quirk Books.

Name pronunciation: “tar-ah” (not “terr-ah”).

Author Links:
  photo icongoodreads32_zps60f83491.png   

Tara Sim’s Top 10 Addictions

  1. Dark lipstick. This is a recent addiction, but I absolutely love wearing dark/berry toned lipsticks. It’s also a great way to bring out the witch in me.
  1. Candles. Lighting a candle is a great way to accompany a night of writing or even a night of Netflixing. Fall and winter scents are the best, or something musky.
  1. Twitter. Okay, yes, I’m addicted to Twitter. I try not to be on my timeline too much, but I’m definitely always chatting with friends and/or posting something weird.
  1. Music. I absolutely hate silence, so I always have music on. Spotify is a miracle.
  1. Books. Cliché, maybe, but absolutely true. Going into a bookstore and smelling/browsing/touching books is always such a happy time. The only thing better is coming out with a stack of them.
  1. Sugar/chocolate/etc. I’m constantly craving something sweet. For real, if you give me a brownie or a piece of cake or ice cream, I get ridiculously happy.
  1. My cat(s). My day is instantly better when I see my cat Beka and my new kitten, Rey. It’s even better when they cuddle with me after a long day.
  1. Cheese. Cheese is the greatest invention of mankind and the tastiest thing in the world, and I will hear no objection.
  1. Tea. I drink about 3 cups of tea a day. I honestly cannot function without it.
  1. Writing. It seems weird to say that writing is an addiction, but it really is. I’m constantly opening Word to write something, whether it’s a novel, a drabble between characters, or something completely random.
 I’m right there with you on the sugar addiction, Tara. And books, of course!!

 Have you read either of these books? If not, have I convinced you to give them a try? I want to know!


16 responses to “Timekeeper and Chainbreaker by Tara Sim: Review & Sim’s Top Ten Addictions

  1. shooting

    Gah, I love Timekeepr so so much and I’m super jealous you’ve read Chainbreaker already. That’s a bummer that Danny and Colton aren’t together as much in the sequel, but I’m still stoked. That’s awesome we get more of Colton’s backstory though. SO curious!


  2. I HAVE to stat reading steampunk! I adore anything steampunk, especially art, artifacts and and outfits [that’s why the name of my blog and the header!] BUT for some reason I have never been attracted to the stories! This 5-start review is screaming at me: “WTH Daniela?? READ STEAMPUNK for god sake! Great review Nicole!”

  3. OH, I have this on my to-read list! I know exactly what you mean – when you love a book and will periodically close it just to reflect on how much you love it! I think all book lovers do this. It’s a feeling of fullness, total gratification. It needs to be verbally noted or something. So, the fact that you did this tells me I need to get on this series. Great review!

  4. Great review Nicole! I haven’t read this one yet, or really heard of it before, but it sounds right up my ally. I love books set in India, and I also really love the steampunk genre but don’t often find a lot of books fitting the genre! And then there being a moral grey area… right, this book has all the elements that intrigue me.

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